A few weeks ago, we went to visit my Dad. It stirred up a few emotions, so I thought I would share a blog that I wrote a while ago. It’s the same blog that (through writing) healed a big part of my heart. Hope you enjoy…
When I was a little girl, I was always playing in the playhouse that was made for me. It was an old work shed that my dad put a sliding window in, so that I could play “drive-up.” It came equipped with a squeaky, metal Rainbow Brite (anyone remember her?), stove, dishwasher and fridge. I had a small kitchen table with two chairs, a highchair for my doll and lots and lots of plastic food.
My playhouse was a mere 50 feet from the large shed that my dad spent much of his time in… sometimes he was in there all day. If he had to go into the house for a drink or a small break (he didn’t take breaks very often), he would have to pass right by my Drive-Thru window, and it never failed: He would always stop. Sometimes, he would order a donut that smelled like strawberries or a Diet Pepsi. Sometimes, he would just peek his head in to see what I was doing… nevertheless, he always stopped. Every once in a while, I would have some real iced tea that I could give him, but usually it was just a pretend slurp that I would hear as he passed his plastic, yellow cup through the window.
I remember his hands were never fully clean; the lines in his hands were engrained with grease. I can still hear the sound of the gravel as I heard him approaching, the crunching footsteps getting louder or softer depending on which direction he was heading.
Looking back, my dad was one of the most hardworking men I know. He was very rarely inside of our house… he spent most days (before the sun was even up, and long after it went down) fixing tractors, setting tubes, tinkering with equipment, welding projects, checking rows and making sure the farm was running and running the way he liked it.
So during the summer, outside is where my brothers and I spent most of our time as well. My brothers helped my dad, and I usually just followed them around pretending to help.
My dad had been a farmer the majority of his life – until 2010 when the farm sold. Farming was all he knew, and I believe it was when the farm sold that my dad lost his identity. He no longer knew who he was or what purpose he served, and he made some very bad decisions. Decisions that turned our family upside down. Decisions that I will never condone, minimize or understand.
Now, my dad is paying for those decisions.
My dad is in prison.
It is so unbelievably hard for me to come out and say that. The same man that would come order through my little playhouse window, now only has a little window to peer out of himself.
What I wouldn’t give to share a donut (real or fake) with my dad today. What I wouldn’t give to be able to give him a hug on a daily basis again, telling him how much I appreciate the time he took to stop by my playhouse window. Or just simply make a phone call whenever I remember something from my childhood or want to tell him something that is happening in my kids’ childhoods right now.
We have all had different upbringings. Different experiences with our dads. Some are present. Some were present, and maybe some were never present at all.
Listen to me when I tell you: Let your dad know how much you appreciate him. Give him a phone call or a hug or write him a letter.
If you aren’t able to do that anymore, let any of the father figures in your life know how much you love them. Just take a little bit of time to show your appreciation… not only today, but every day.